Weekly reviewBig week ahead for Korean Basketball League teams
The Goyang Orion Orions got their revenge on the Seoul Samsung Thunders, one of the two teams that have defeated them so far this season. On Sunday, the Orions beat the Thunders 93-84 and became first team this season to collect a win from every team in the league.
The Orions will have critical game on Thursday at home as they meet defending champion and No. 2 Ulsan Mobis Phoebus. In their first encounter, the Orions beat the Phoebus 83-74 away.
Orions forward Aaron Haynes, who is the top scorer in the league with 27.63 points per game, is expected to become the all-time top foreign scorer in the KBL this week as the 34-year-old American is just 36 points away from Johnny McDowell’s 7,077 points.
The Phoebus will need to regroup after Jeonju KCC Egis beat them 82-79 and put an end to their eight-game winning streak.
The Egis, meanwhile, interrupted the Orions’ eight-game winning streak on Oct. 25.
The league’s two worst teams - the Seoul SK Knights and Changwon LG Sakers - each have only one game this week, but they are on a mission to end their four-game losing streak.
The Knights are hoping to do so when they host the Phoebus on Saturday, while the Sakers meet Busan KT SonicBoom at home on Sunday.
Wonju Dongbu Promy will have the chance to extend its three-game winning streak against the SonicBoom on Wednesday, followed by the Egis on Sunday. Both games are at home.
The Orions, Elephants and SonicBoom have three games this week, meaning that they’ll need to manage their players’ health to stay afloat.
Player in focus: Kim Joo-sung (Dongbu Promy)
Kim Joo-sung is back in action right when Wonju Dongbu Promy need him most.
The franchise legend, who has been with the team since 2002, has not played with the Promy since Sept. 19 after suffering a right toe injury during a game against the Seoul Samsung Thunders.
But the center returned to the court on Sunday against the Incheon ET Land Elephants to help the team’s 87-68 victory. Kim scored 15 points, six rebounds and two assists after playing 20 minutes.
Kim, a two-time KBL MVP and winner of three championship titles, said he still isn’t at full condition, telling reporters he’s still taking medication for his injury. Fans are hoping the veteran will be fully recovered and back to breaking records soon; among his many accomplishments, Kim is currently just nine short of making 1,000 career blocks.
The addition of Kim means that the core members of the 2011-12 squad - which won the regular season 44-10, the best record in KBL history - are now playing again. Nicknamed the “Dongbu Castle” because of a tight defense that utilizes players’ height, the Promy can now operate the triple towers of Kim, Yoon Ho-young and Rod Benson.
With Kim’s improving health and new foreigner Wendell McKines, who replaced Ra’shad James last week, the Promy is hoping to improve their 7-10 record, which has them sitting eighth.
Egis breaks record with a turnover-free KBL game
Jeonju KCC Egis beat Ulsan Mobis Phoebus 82-79, with Egis coach Choo Seung-gyun urging his players not to lose focus throughout the game.
Egis players made 22 free throws out of 24, marking 91.7 percent. But what’s more impressive is that the Egis didn’t have a single turnover in the game, which is a KBL record. Previously, the least number of turnovers made by a team in single game was two, and six teams - including the Egis - had achieved it thus far.
With the Phoebus committing seven turnovers, the game tied the KBL record for the least number of turnovers in a match. In 2000, Anyang SBS (now Anyang KGC) had two turnovers and the Cheongju SK Knights (now Seoul SK Knights) had five.